Volume 3, Issue 2
March 2, 2003
Disappointing news from Anchorage
Corporal Punishment in Wyoming
New Webpage Sections
News From the Web
In the past month the youth rights movement has suffered two close losses. In Alaska and Wyoming two bills were narrowly rejected. A charter amendment in Anchorage Alaska,that would lower the voting age to sixteen, and would serve as a stepping stone towards many great victories in the future, failed to reach the ballot by one vote. In Wyoming, a bill that would repeal corporal punishment in schools also was stopped by one vote. NYRA is accepting donations, and has set up one of the best drinking age resources on the net, your generosity can help us do many other great things. NYRA recruited successfully in Maryland. This past month has not been a joyous month, but the fact that these defeats were so close serves as proof that the movement is strong and we are not fighting in vain.
Anchorage Voting Age Campaign
Corey Rennell, and the Youth Civic Rights Movement, have been working tirelessly to lower the voting age in Anchorage, the assembly rejected a measure to put the amendment on the ballot by one vote. Seven assembly members voted in favor, four against, eight votes are required to have it put on the ballot in April.
Members of the Youth Civic Rights Movement articulated their just cause with passion and truth. “Age is the last limit on suffrage. What is it about being one year younger that makes my voice less significant?” asked Bradley Truer, 17. “Our national creed is that all persons are created equal. Nothing more than this should need to be said to make the case that 16 – and 17-year-olds should be given the right to vote.” said Walter Featherly, Anchorage attorney.
Leaders of the opposition claimed the measure is unconstitutional, citing the Alaska constitution, ” Every Citizen who is at least eighteen years of age…may vote in any state or local election.” However, as Corey Rennell pointed out, there is nothing in the constitution preventing a city from lowering it’s voting age.
Dick Trani, Dan Sullivan, Dan Kendall, and Anna Fairclough, did not vote in favor of the amendment. They argued that the youth is too immature and too ignorant to vote, something a lot of people in power seem to say these days, however it doesn’t stop them from trying us as adults. “They have not reached the age of maturity, our society has set standards.” However when asked if the young people who spoke at the hearing had the capacity to vote they admitted “some of them did.”
America is one of the freest societies in the world, however when it comes to youth rights we fall short of even Iran, where I would be considered more of a man than I am here. For the young man, taxation, but no representation. For the young man, work, but no real pay. The young man is expected to have the maturity to obey the laws of the government that says he is too immature to decide how he is governed. This is oppression.
On behalf of NYRA, the youth rights movement, and every oppressed youth in this country, I extend my gratitude to Corey Rennell and the Youth Civic Rights Movement, who pushed for this amendment, to Ted Stevens and Walter Featherly who supported it, and to assembly members, Tesche, Whittle, Shamberg, Taylor, Tremaine, Van Etten, and Von Gemmingen, who voted to have it put on the ballot in April.
Corporal Punishment in Wyoming
Corporal punishment is humiliating and degrading, if corporal punishment were inflicted on adults in the work place, there would be a huge public outcry. However, in many parts of the country it is perfectly acceptable for young people to be beaten in school, where they are forced to work, often against their will.
A bill to repeal Corporal punishment in the Wyoming Senate was narrowly defeated. The vote was fifteen to fifteen, a majority vote was required for the bill to pass.
The bill, HB68, prohibited the beating of students in school, and also “protects teachers and other staff members from civil litigation if they should use force to break up a fight or defend themselves” said Senator Kathryn Sessions, a democrat from Cheyenne, who also pointed out that the bill passed by a 48 to 10 vote in the house. Senator Larry Caller, a Democrat from Rock Springs reported that there were eight cases of physical discipline in Wyoming alone last year, and he feared a lot more were not reported. Senator Cale Case, a Republican from Lander said “I don’t think there is ever a reason to inflict pain on another person, especially a child.”
Senator Keith Goodenough, a Democrat from Casper, was forced to apologize for comments he made following the vote. He pointed out that a few young people in the gallery would see their classmates beaten after witnessing the vote. Other politicians were offended by his use of the word “beat.”
Those arguing against the bill said that it restricts the rights of the schools and would only serve to solve a problem that does not exist. Perhaps they were not paying attention to Senator Caller’s comments.
Corporal punishment is a horrendous evil. It would be interesting to see how the senators who voted against this bill would react if they were beaten by their “superiors.”
The NYRA needs you financial support. You can donate with a credit card via our website ( www.youthrights.org/donate.shtml ) or you can pay check or cash by mail, send your donations to The National Youth Rights Association, PO Box 5882, Washington, DC 20016. All full members must pay ten dollars a year in membership dues, but are encouraged to donate as much as they can. For this ten dollars you will receive a button of your choice, the right to vote in NYRA elections, and an optional printed subscription to this publication, “NYRA Freedom.” The money will go towards voting age campaigns, and other youth rights related campaigns.
New Webpage Sections
Go to www.youthrights.org/drinkingage.shtml for an abundance of resources regarding the drinking age. Here you will find an FAQ on the drinking age, an explanation of NYRA’s solutions, a list to drinking age laws for all fifty states, a history of the drinking age, as well as a transcript of NYRA president, Alex Koroknay-Palicz’s CNN appearance.
At www.youthrights.org/votingage.shtml NYRA has created a resource center for the voting age. Look here to find the top ten reasons to lower the voting age, and plenty of research to help us make our case for lowering the age. Check this page for news updates on efforts to lower the voting age around the world.
Read our collection of youth rights quotes at www.youthrights.org/quotes.shtml.
NYRA recruited at an anti-war rally in Maryland. The rally, led by the Montgomery County Students for Peace and Justice, responded warmly to NYRA. Sixty students signed up for NYRA at the event.
News From the Web
Congress vs. Gamers: Round two
Alcohol Industry Says Study on Alcohol Abuse Flawed
School uniforms unlikely
For Sweet 16 gift, Boca girl wants the right to vote
New law jeopardizes all-ages concerts
Morocco Lowers Voting Age
Assembly foils try to lower voting age
Durham youth panels pushed
Give babies a vote, says think-tank
N.C. Court to Mull Right to a Lawyer in Discipline Cases
In conclusion this past month has been a disappointment in that two major youth rights issues were not resolved, but we have also seen tremendous support for youth rights from politicians in Alaska and Wyoming. Expect great things in the future.